Monday, April 18, 2011

New Zealand MP wants somebody to stop her

It's not an unusual Tweet - @melissaleemp laying out her plans for the evening:

OK... Shower... Reading... and bed! listening to a compilation a friend did for me of K pop. Thanks Jay
Only trouble is, a few hours later, Melissa Lee was standing up in the New Zealand parliament, arguing for stronger sanctions against people who obtain unlicensed music.

She was surprised when people pointed out that there was a bit of hypocrisy there:
Lee defended herself by saying that the songs were downloaded legally and paid for. But unfortunately for her that doesn’t mean much. As the National Business Review points out, when a friend makes a copy of songs that were legally bought, the recipient of the ‘gift’ is still guilty of copyright infringement.
Obviously, Lee was caught out by something that everyone does - making and sharing a mixtape - is actually illegal. It's a stupid law that does nobody any good.

But if you're making copyright law, surely you shouldn't be getting "caught out" by the existing law. If we adopt the music industry's flawed "stealing CDs" metaphor, this is a bit like someone who has been joking about shoplifting records on Facebook turning up to call for new rules against thieves, and then trying to explain that her shoplifting is somehow different.

I don't think Lee is alone in making copyright law without understanding it. That's the worry.


Markie said...

"listening to a compilation a friend did for me of K pop"

K pop? What, like Beat Happening, Softies and Go Sailor? Or am I being a bit dense?

simon h b said...

I'm assuming it's Korean pop, but, oh, wouldn't it be sweet if it was Beat Happening?

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